It was time for the monthly water grabs for inorganic nutrients, bacteria, chlorophyll, and Total Suspended Solid (TSS). This meant Adam, Ali, and I got to take the Katana (R/V JE Tally) out and retrieve wild Oregon saltwater on Monday. In the morning we were joined by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) intern, Alexa, and fellow South Slough intern, Bethany. Alexa went with Adam to do the Winchester water grab, and that left the rest of us to start the lab work. Bethany couldn't stay for the afternoon high tide water grabs, so we were joined by Jordan, an education intern. The lab work all went really fast for the bacteria, chlorophyll, and inorganic nutrients filtering. Sadly, there wasn't enough time to do the TSS, so that was pushed until Wednesday. Bethany got to drive the Katana in the morning, Alexa and I got to take turns in the afternoon. It was an all-around magical day, and I'm sad that it was the last time I will be able to partake in the water grab nutrient sampling. I guess that is the proper motivation for finding a job in marine science, so I can one day continue having days like Monday.
On Wednesday I started the TSS filtering. I forgot how long low tide Winchester took, because of how much sediment is in the water sample. The other 21 water samples filtered very quickly, so I was able to finish in time for Shon, the new Lead Scientist at the Reserve, to use the filter in the afternoon. Later in the day, I went back to my temperature graph and did an average daily water temperature for June 2017 at both transects A and C compared to the monthly sonde data. It was faster and easier to do the daily average because I just had to copy and paste one monthly from my monthly average raw data file. The results were really fascinating because for over half the month both sites were approximately 3.5 degrees C above the monthly average. After I got off of work for the day, I started working on my presentation for the Charleston Marine Life Center (CMLC) that is on Thursday. I decided against bringing in Zostera marina because after a few hours it would stink really bad. I opted to make my own eelgrass bed instead, out of cardboard and ribbon. One of the grad students from Natalie's lab gave me a spool of green ribbon for the eelgrass, and Julie, Natalie's mentor, gave me some stickers to help show the diversity of life in eelgrass beds. Natalie and I later went to Walmart so I could get some crab stickers because I plan to mention juvenile Dungeness crabs frequently in my presentation because it's an organism most people know around here.
The seminar was at 7 pm this week, instead of the usual 3 pm. Dr. Leigh Torres from OSU was the speaker, and her topic was "Modern Whales Living in Urban Places". I've loved whales since I was little, so I was pumped about this week's seminar since I found out what the topics were. Dr. Torres didn't disappoint, keeping the seminar light and funny. It can be easy to let the damage happening to the earth and its creatures get to you, but she kept us laughing. Some people might ask what is so important about whales, and while I agree with Dr. Torres that they are super cool, most people don't realize how much revenue is brought into Oregon from whale watching. During the seminar, it was mentioned to be $29.8 million. The testing that was done on the whales during her experiment was fascinating because it wasn't invasive to the whales; she collected the whale poop. You can also get blood and blubber from whales, but that can cause discomfort and stress to the whales. Part of her presentation was dedicated to the noise pollution humans create in the oceans, and it was no surprise to me that the loud noises might stress out the whales, I know loud noises stress me out. At least I can escape to a different place, but whales are stuck in the water, and humans are everywhere.
My presentation at the CMLC started at 12 pm, and I was excited to see how it would go. I brought a full size quadrat, my homemade eelgrass bed, waders for kids to try on, a mini quadrat, and some pictures from previous eelgrass monitoring. My favorite part was probably the two little boys who put on the XL waders I borrowed, especially when their dads would pull the waders all the up. Since the boys were so much shorter than the waders, one dad was able to use the straps to seal his child inside the waders, much to the kid's delight. My other favorite part was the fact I was put at the entrance of the CMLC, because not only did that mean I interacted with everyone who came through the doors, I also got a great view of Octavius, the male Giant Pacific Octopus. It was also opportunistic, because when the flow of people slowed, I was able to visit the touch tank.
Friday will be the day we go to the University of Oregon in Eugene. I was worried about the last long car trip we took as a group, but it went okay, so I'm not too worried about this one. It'll be cool to see the labs at UO because I've never seen them before and have heard very little. Exploring Eugene will be interesting, and I'm sure we'll make an exciting adventure out of it.